Finding ourselves at a crossroads in life is hard. Period. I've never heard anyone who wasn't heavily medicated say otherwise. If you are someone who is currently experiencing a Real Life Realignment of Major Proportions, (which will be all of us at some point and also, spoiler alert: possibly more than once) eventually, if someone upon hearing your story offers you anything even close to platitudes about how change is constant and life is an adventure, I guarantee you will immediately feel like punching them. Or screaming. Or biting your nails down to the quick so you don't do either of those things.
It may be entirely true that life is constant change and adventure, and it may also be true that what we learn while we live through challenging times can leave us happier and better positioned to be the best version of ourselves.
But in those chapters of our lives when we realize something's not right, but don't know what to do about it? Or maybe when we do know but haven't yet found the courage or direction to take action?
Yeah, those moments suck.
As the Upmarket Intuitive, I help my clients navigate their lives with love, humor and compassion, demonstrating and coaching them in how intuition is our most natural resource and the best way to find the path that's right for us. Hopefully without getting punched (so far so good).
As Flower Fan Girl, I tell the stories of how flowers bring happiness and meaning to our lives.
So it's kind of amazing that the main reason Cymbidium exists is because owner Jess Christoferson found the right path out of a crossroads in her own life.
Jess made it to her junior year in college doing well as an interior design major at Cornell before she finally came to grips with the fact that she loved design, but the interior part? Not so much.
Her parents encouraged her to finish her degree, because at least then she'd have one and could regroup from that vantage point. So she bided her time, trying to cope with the resultant restlessness by studying abroad in London for a year, hoping for inspiration.
One evening she and the other students in her program were attending a play that was a bit of a snore, so she took a break during the last act. In the lobby she happened to casually pick up a magazine from a table in one of the seating areas.
In it was an article about a floral designer who took her inspiration from architecture and fashion. Hello?? thought Jess, I didn't know you could do that! And as the next couple of weeks passed, the possibility that floral design was an intriguing option for her took root, and her mood began to substantially lift. For the first time in a very, very long time she felt excited about design.
Then it was time to meet with her advisor to discuss her options for the credited internship part of her year abroad. While she was trying to get up the nerve to ask about the possibility of interning with a floral designer she heard someone whose voice sounded exactly like hers asking, “What do you think about the possibility of interning with a floral designer?”
Her advisor did a double-take, almost as if she hadn't heard Jess properly, and then excitedly responded, “Oh my God no one has ever asked about that before but it's a fabulous idea and guess what my brother-in-law is a floral designer!”
Jess' story is like most of ours in that the right path often emerges in fits and starts while we get ready for the rest of our lives to take shape around it. So Jess put in that final year of school and graduated, demonstrating grit and commitment and possibly an understanding of how she was helping her parents avoid a nervous breakdown. I mean, I get it. As free-thinking as I believe I am about my children following their bliss, I hope to God neither of them ever has to choose between a full ride say, to dental school over any school that has “Arts” in its name. My point here should be obvious: if there is anyone who should be walking her talk here it is me. I should be reasonably confident that I will at the very least be able to keep my yap shut without blurting out something like, “Are you sure?? Because dentistry is also an art form if you think about it!”. And I am not. So if I, who as a young woman studied theatre and creative writing, and who immediately upon graduation from a very fine university told her parents she was an intuitive, and who then had to explain to them what that was, can completely empathize with Jess' parents, well then. The struggle must be real.
So Jess moved to Chicago and took a job at an interior design firm.
And hated it.
Then one day Jess' dad was all the way up in Damariscotta, Maine in the grocery store, shopping and being his usual chatty self, when the woman he was talking to in line mentioned that she also had a daughter who lived in Chicago. A daughter who just so happened to be leaving her job as a florist to move back home to New England.
A few minutes later numbers had been exchanged and lives were in the process of getting on track.
You'll often hear me talk about aspiring to “the highest good for the greatest number”. Simply put, nearly every story you'll hear about miraculous timing involves more than just you. We live in a Universe abundant with solutions if we approach our lives and the challenges we face with compassion and a willingness to help. I see examples of how interconnected we are every day.
Jess worked for two florists in Chicago over the next four years, helping one build her business from the ground up and running it completely when the owner was traveling. From very early on she started receiving feedback about her aptitude and what a great eye she had, establishing her reputation for creativity. She'd often find a scrap that had ended up on the floor and would put it to use in brilliant ways, which is why today she still gets teased occasionally about her Don't Throw That Away principle of floral design.
She's a natural.
Oh and her degree from Cornell? It came in handy when she found the retail space that would become Cymbidium's home. The landlord told her, “I don't usually rent to first-time business owners. But you have a college degree from a good school. So let's talk”.
Many thanks to Susan Gorman for capturing the magic of how it all began.